I think I speak on behalf of everyone associated with The New Saints when I say that we love our involvement in the Irn-Bru Cup. I’ve certainly not heard one negative comment anyway, it’s all been good.
I love Welsh domestic football so don’t misunderstand me but there is something special about playing games beyond the standard league and cup set-ups. Up until recently that has meant Champions League, with the occasional behind-closed-doors friendly at an English league side thrown in for good measure.
Now though we have the Irn-Bru Cup to add into the mix, and especially so as we have done really well since entering the competition for the first time in 2016/2017. For the second successive season we have made the semi-final stage.
Although going out to St Mirren last time round, we are still in this season. I’m writing this late on Monday evening (November 13) so don’t know who our opponents will be. By the time most people will be reading this though, we will all know who we will face, and where.
Back to the present though, or to be precise the past, and in particular yesterday. What a fantastic time it was all-round. My TNS-related day kicked off in Oswestry, joining in with the outdoor Remembrance parade and service.
Gwyn Derfel was also in attendance, it was great that he took the time to join in, and we laid a wreath on behalf of the club as well as linking in with some Queen of the South fans who presented one on behalf of theirs.
Talking of the Doonhamers’ supporters, they were superb. They turned up in numbers to support their side and it was all in great spirit. Just the one turnstile as always, no segregation (other than fans grouping together with their own, which is natural), no police and no bother.
Those outside the Welsh system are probably not aware just how friendly the set-up is here in the domestic game. Certainly for me it’s one of the big ticks as far as positives are concerned.
Waiting for TNS interviews, James McFadden passed me in the tunnel. pic.twitter.com/R0RWfZgTbD
— Stewart Bloor Media Officer at TNS FC (@TheAnglingRev) November 12, 2017
The tie itself was fantastic, end-to-end and going through as we did in the dramatic penalty shoot-out was just amazing. More than a day later I haven’t come back down to earth yet. It was heartbreak hotel for the boys from Dumfries but for the Saints it was definitely a case of flying high.
Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 14) I’ve got an early start as it’s the semi-final draw in Glasgow. Although the game will not be played until next February, the formalities will be completed at lunchtime.
I’m catching the familiar (it’s been the same route so far for all the draws) 7.37 am train from Wolverhampton and will be joined at Warrington by our manager, Scott Ruscoe. I’m really looking forward to it and will be bringing social media updates, as well as gathering next week’s Rev’s Ramblings material.
Hope you have a great journey, Stewart! ^MW
— Virgin Trains (@VirginTrains) November 13, 2017
Depending on when you’re reading this, keep an eye on the TNS Facebook and Twitter accounts for live updates from the day.
Stewart Bloor – Media & Communications Officer (email@example.com)
Rev’s Ramblings is a weekly blog insight into my adventures with the champions of Wales.